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A Geography Of Illicit Crops (Coca Leaf) And Armed Conflict In Colombia


  • Ana MaríaDíaz
  • FabioSánchez


Colombia is currently the world´s largest producer of coca leaf and the principal producer of opium poppies in the Americas; the plants are the basic raw materials used to produce cocaine and heroin. This document will analyse the current relationship between these crops and illegal armed groups in Colombia, using the hypothesis that the geographical intensification of the conflict is the principal cause of expanding illicit crop production. This relationship was analysed using a theoretic model, in which an interaction between illegal armed activity and strategic territorial control lead to cocaine production. Spatial analysis techniques were then applied, especially spatial association indicators; and a clear spatial dynamic was observed, related to the two aspects mentioned above. Non parametric exercises were also carried out using matching estimators, to determine the effect illegal armed groups have on coca crops, and also to analyse the efficiency of aerial eradication policies. The results suggest that a large percentage of coca production in Colombia is due to the effects of illegal armed activity. We therefore conclude that the expansion of illegal crop growing is a consequence of the expanding conflict. In contrast, coca crops can only be used to explain a small part of the armed conflict in Colombia. In addition, we found that crop eradication via aerial spraying has not been an efficient tool in the fight against coca production in the country.

Suggested Citation

  • Ana MaríaDíaz & FabioSánchez, 2004. "A Geography Of Illicit Crops (Coca Leaf) And Armed Conflict In Colombia," Documentos CEDE 1918, Universidad de los Andes, Facultad de Economía, CEDE.
  • Handle: RePEc:col:000089:001918

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. James J. Heckman, 1977. "Sample Selection Bias As a Specification Error (with an Application to the Estimation of Labor Supply Functions)," NBER Working Papers 0172, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Ricardo Rocha & Alejandro Vivas, 1998. "Crecimiento regional en Colombia: ¿Persiste la desigualdad?," Revista de Economía del Rosario, Universidad del Rosario, January.
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    4. Fabio SANCHEZ TORRES & Ana María DIAZ & Michel FORNISANO, 2003. "Conflicto, violencia y actividad criminal en Colombia: Un análisis espacial," Archivos de Economía 2185, Departamento Nacional de Planeación.
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    Cited by:

    1. Cortés Darwin & Montolio Daniel, 2014. "Provision of Public Goods and Violent Conflict: Evidence from Colombia," Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 20(1), pages 143-167, January.
    2. Gonzalez, Maria A & Lopez, Rigoberto A, 2007. "Political Violence and Farm Household Efficiency in Colombia," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55(2), pages 367-392, January.
    3. Joshua D. Angrist & Adriana D. Kugler, 2008. "Rural Windfall or a New Resource Curse? Coca, Income, and Civil Conflict in Colombia," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(2), pages 191-215, May.
    4. Daniel Mejía & Pascual Restrepo, 2013. "Bushes and Bullets: Illegal Cocaine Markets and Violence in Colombia," Documentos CEDE 11934, Universidad de los Andes, Facultad de Economía, CEDE.
    5. Boris Branisa & Adriana Cardozo, 2009. "Regional Growth Convergence in Colombia Using Social Indicators," Ibero America Institute for Econ. Research (IAI) Discussion Papers 195, Ibero-America Institute for Economic Research.
    6. Jo Thori Lind & Karl Ove Moene & Fredik Willumsen, 2014. "Opium for the Masses? Conflict-Induced Narcotics Production in Afghanistan," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 96(5), pages 949-966, December.
    7. Darwin Cortes & Daniel Montolio, 2013. "Publicness of goods and violent conflict: Evidence from Colombia," Documentos de Trabajo 10725, Universidad del Rosario.
    8. Ana María Díaz, 2013. "The Employment Advantages of Skilled Urban Municipalities in Colombia," Revista ESPE - Ensayos Sobre Política Económica, Banco de la República, vol. 31(70), pages 316-366, July.
    9. Ana María Díaz, 2011. "The Employment Advantages of Skilled Urban Areas," Vniversitas Económica 10087, Universidad Javeriana - Bogotá.
    10. Francesco Bogliacino & Alberto J. Naranjo, 2012. "Coca Leaves Production and Eradication: A General Equilibrium Analysis," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 32(1), pages 382-397.
    11. Zuleta Hernando, 2008. "Poor People and Risky Business," Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 14(1), pages 1-18, April.

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    More about this item


    Illicit crops;

    JEL classification:

    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)


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